1617 Thomas Gowen b est 1617 living likely in Jamestown, Va

Thomas Gowen was born about 1617






John Gowing 1600-15    (Note:  This is not confirmed – this is a guess based on them arriving about a month apart from eachother in Virginia).


1635 – Aug – Thos Gowen, 18 yrs old., is listed in “Original List of Persons of Quality”.  He is transported on the “Globe” of London (ship) to Virginia.  https://archive.org/stream/originallistsofp00hottuoft#page/118/mode/2up

From Gowen Manuscript:  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gowenrf/gowenms001.htm

Was Thomas Gowen the First
Of the Name in America?

Was Thomas Gowen the first member of familia nostra to set foot on American soil? On the “7th, 8th month, 1635” the 18-year-old was listed as a passenger for Virginia out of London.

New England Historical & Genealogical Register includes his name in “These underwritten names are to be transported to Virginia in the ‘Globe’ of London, Jeremy Blackman, Master, have been examined by the Minister of Gravesend, of their conformitie and have taken the oaths of allegeance and supremacie.”

The term transported was usually reserved for convicts who were to be banished to the colonies by the Crown because of criminality or heresy. John Camden Hotten in “Our Early Emigrant Ancestors” mentions Thomas Gowen as bound for Virginia.

The term bound was usually reserved for endentured servants.

In any event, the departure of our namesake with Capt. Blackman for Virginia was not an auspicious event. The captain apparently made a career of sailing the trans-Atlantic route. On the “26th, 3rd month, 1639 Jeremy Blackman, mariner and Thomas Stegg, merchant,” contracted with the Virginia Council “to import horses and export neate cattle,” according to “Acts of the Privy Council.”

Very likely Thomas Gowen first set foot on American soil at Jamestown, a settlement destined to be burned and destroyed by marauding Indians a few years later. Apparently he found land in Gloucester County, across the York River from Jamestown, probably in Abingdon Parish, 35 miles east of present-day Richmond.

It is believed that Thomas Gowen died there at age 60, in 1676, the year that the colonists under Nathaniel Bacon repulsed the Indians in the Battle of Bloody Run. Does the coincidental date suggest that Thomas Gowen might have died in the battle?

If an earlier-documented ancestor is turned up by a Gowen researcher, please forward the data to the Foundation for inclusion in a future edition.

(Thomas Gowen born in 1617)

When the Mayflower sailed in 1620 with the Pilgrim fathers aboard there was a little three-year-old boy somewhere in Scotland destined to follow their course 15 years later. This toddler was Thomas Gowen, born in 1617 and destined, as far as present research reveals, to be the first bearer of the Gowen name on American soil. On the 7th, 8th month, 1635 18-year- old Thomas Gowen was listed as a “passenger for Virginia out of London” by “New England Historical & Genealogical Register.” The entry read: “These underwritten names are to be transported to Virginia in the ‘Globe’ of London, Jeremy Blackman, Master, have been examined by the Minister of Gravesend, of their conformitie and have taken the oaths of allegeance and supremacie.”

The term “transported” was usually reserved for convicts who were to be banished to the colonies by the crown because of criminality or heresy. Thomas Gowen is mentioned as “bound for Virginia” in “Our Early Emigrant Ancestors” by John Camden Hotten. The term “bound” was usually reserved for indentured servants. Capt. Jeremy Blackman apparently had a career of sailing the trans-Atlantic route. On 26th, 3rd month, 1639 Jeremy Blackman, “mariner” and Thomas Stegg, “merchant” made a trade with the Virginia Council to import horses and export “neate cattle,” according to “Acts of the Privy Council.” During this period of English history, a neat scheme was devised to give a reprieve from the gallows to any person whose crimes were less than murder, treason, rape, witchcraft, highway robbery, arson or burglary, in order that they might be shipped to the colonies to “toyle in heavy and painefull workes.”

Parliament in 1718 passed an act to create a sentence of seven years of work in the American colonies, which became the standard punishment for crimes other than the most trivial or most heinous. Even the sentence for murder, provided there were extenuating circumstances, could be commuted to a term of 14 years or life in the colonies. The infamous Newgate prison in London and others contributed more than 500 felons each year for slave labor for the American plantations. Enormous profits were made by the tobacco merchants, who had a monopoly on the trade in human cargoes. The recruitment of labor to the American tobacco plantations and to domestic service of all kinds, from school- mastering to scullery work, was achieved in very large measure through the emptying of English jails, workhouses, brothels and houses of correction.

Through Bristol, more than 10,000 indentured servants came between 1654 and 1686. Bristol merchants would take convicts or indentured servants indiscriminately and with little scruple as to how they were obtained. The trade was profitable and the merchants could well afford to ship their charges free because of the high prices obtainable for human labor at the port of delivery. So a trading pattern was set for over a century –an outward cargo of laborers to be exchanged for a return consignment of tobacco. The crown viewed the practice as ideal. It emptied the jails, eliminated political prisoners, depleted the brothels, solved unemployment, removed dangerous prisoners of war, silenced heretics, paid debts, produced taxes, and threw “the fear of God” into the rest of the populace–all at no expense.

Thomas Gowen may have been the first member of the family to be “transported,” but he would not be the last. Fifteen years later William Alexander Gowen, a Scottish prisoner of war taken in the Battle of Dunbar, arrived on the ship “Unity” at Strawberry Bank Colony, later Portland, Maine. History tells us little about these individual immigrants and our genealogies even less. Not all of our ancestors came to America seeking religious freedom. Gowen researchers looking for noble ancestors should also prepare themselves to discover in their lineage the undesirables of 17th century English society.

Very likely Thomas Gowen first set foot on American soil at Jamestown, Virginia, a settlement destined to be burned and destroyed by marauding Indians a few years later. Since no record has been found of his descendants, he may have lost his life there. The original settlement of Jamestown was made in May 1607 on the northeast bank of the James River.

A few years later another settlement was made across the peninsula from Jamestown, and it was called “the settlement on Charles River.” Later the river became the York River. The settlement was renamed Yorktown, and York County came into being in 1634. The area was the scene of the final battle of the Revolutionary War with the troops of Generals Washington, Wayne and Lafayette forcing the surrender of the soldiers of Charles Lord Cornwallis.


Thomas Gowen, age 18 years, is one of the first Gowens transported to the Americas in 1635. He was listed as being transported on the “Globe”, a ship traveling from London to Virginia.

1635 – Aug – Thos Gowen, 18 yrs old., is listed in “Original List of Persons of Quality”. He is transported on the “Globe” of London (ship) to Virginia.

His family situation is unknown at this time.

Other potential “Gowens” who may have arrived even before Thomas are:
1) Thomas Guine likely born between 1583-1603

1623 Feb 16 – Thomas Guine is listed on A List of the Names of the Dead in Virginia Since Last April, in Va. – on a plantation of James Cittie. https://archive.org/stream/colonialrecordso00virg#page/56/mode/2up

(NOTE: Guine is close to Goine – so could be a Gowen, close enough to investigate or consider – but it is not a definite Gowen – would need more info to actually say this is a Gowen family member).

2) William Gainye (also spelled Gayne or Gainy or Gaines) likely born about 1616 (and his family).

1616 – William Gainye arrived on The George – On October 13 of 1626, Thomas Spelman, William Gainye, William English, and Frances Mason appeared in court in James City and were granted permission to “goe for England”. No reason for the visit is found. Mason and Gainye had family connections, Ganey had also arrived on The George in the 1616 (Dorman, p. ) with Thomas Spelman. Ganey petitioned Governor Wyatt in 1623 for wages and reimbursements owed to him by the deceased Captain Nuse, describing himself as an employee of Nuse who had paid the debts and wages to other employees since Nuse’s death, indicating he may have been an accountant for the Company Land at Elizabeth City. (Jefferson Papers, Vol. 4, p. 455-456) Ganey’s 200 acre land grant describes him as a mariner seated at the harbor of the Hampton River, near Spelman’s plantation. In various records, William Ganey is listed as arriving on the The George, The Bona Nova, and The Treasurer, which could indicate business travel. Records do not indicate that these men were with Spelman when he died shortly after arrival in County Cornwall, England.

1620 William Gayne is listed in the muster report of Elizabeth Cittie, Va:
Location: Elzabeth Cittte
ROBART NEWMAN aged 25 in the Neptune 1618
WILLIAM GAYNE aged 36 in the Bona Nova 1620
JOHN TAYLOR aged 34 in the Swan 1610
REBECCA TAYLOR aged 22 in the Margett and John 1623
JOHN COKER aged 20
RICHARD PACKE aged 23 in the Warwick 1621
ABRAHAM AVELIN aged 22, in thc Elzabeth 1620
ARTHUR AVELIN aged 26, in thc Elzabeth 1620
PROVISION: Corne, 10 barreles; Fish, 200 ct; houses, 1. ARMES: peeces, 5; swords,
2; Coate of male, 1; powder, 2 lb; lead, 40 lb.
(Source): Adventurers of Purse and Persons, Virginia, 1607-1625 and Their Families, COMPILED AND EDITED BY ANNIE LASH JESTER IN COLLABORATION WITH MARTHA WOODROOF HIDEN , F.A.S.G.

1620 – William Gayne is listed in the Muster of Inhabitants of Virginia, Aged 36 – in the Bona Noua, Va – Elizabeth Cittie. https://archive.org/stream/originallistsofp00hottuoft#page/266/mode/2up

1623 Feb 16 – William Gayne (age 39) is on the List of the Living in Virginia, Elizabeth Cittie.

1624 – Rebecca Taylor, 1623 voyage, aged 22 at muster Elizabeth City with Robart Newman and William Gayne.   http://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/margaretjohn.htm

1624, Jan 12, Sir Francis Wyatt to WILLIAM GAINYE, 200 acres, Jan. 12, 1624, Marriner. In the parish of Kiccoughtan, Eliz. City Co., near land of Elizabeth Dunthorne and Wm. Gapps. For his personal right & trans, of: Wm. Gainye, who came in the Treasurer in 1617, John Shippey & John Cooper, in the Treasurer in 1617, & Robert Browne in the Marigold in 1618, whose passage he defrayed for Mr. Robt. Gire.

1626 Jan 12, At this Court Henry Gainye was plfented before y Gouerno’ & Councill by y Prouoft Marfhall for drunkennes, wherevppon it was ordered that hee fhould enter into bond of his good behauior in 300 1 To: & pay the prouoft Marfhall twenty waight of Tobacco as being the halfe of his fine & due for informing. The fame time Robert Adams was plfented likewife for drunkennes by y* Provoft Marfhall, & y e like cenfure inflidled on him as vppon y e faid Henry Gainy.

(Note:  I believe Henry may be a family member of William’s)

1626 Oct 13: William Gainye given a pass to go to England with Will’m English, Thos Spilman, and Ffrances Mason.
A Court at James Citty the 13*^ of Octob., 1626, present S’r George Yeardley, Knt., Governor, &c, Capt. West, Doct’r Pott, Capt. Smyth, Capt. Mathewes, Mr. Persey, Mr Claybourne, Capt. Tucker & Mr fferrar.
At this Court Mr Will’m Gainye, Will’m English, Tho. Spilman & ffrances Mason had a graunt of their passes to goe for England

1626 James Citty Va court testimony regarding William Gainy and wife, regarding the death of a servant they had hired:
A Court at James Citty the 24th day of October 1626, present S’r George Yeardley, Knt., Governor 8cc, Capt Roger Smyth, Mr Clayboume & Capt Tucker
1. Steven Dixon sworn & examined sayeth yt uppon the 29th day of July last past at Mr English his house He [?], Anthony Asson & Mrs Ganye cam.e running upp from ye waterside into ye house, & the said Anthonye prayed this deponent to goe downe suddenly to ye waterside, for yt Mr Ganeys boy named Thomas Canadye was stucke in the mudd & was like to be drowned, soe when this deponent came downe he could not see any part of the boy above water, then presently. Mrs Ganey said to this deponent that ye said Anthony did not borrow ye boy of him, neither did he lend him unto him what measure can he make unto my husband, & this deponent saved, I know not, the next day about ten of o ‘clock in ye morning this deponent, it being low water went thither & found ye boy uppon ye mudd where ye water had ebbed away fro’ ye body about five strides, then this deponent went & told Mrs Gany, who intreated this deponent to goe to Mr English his house & and take one of his men to helpe to make a grave & soe to bury him, w’ch this deponent did performe. And further this deponent sayeth yt when hee tooke upp the body it laye uppon ye mudd lyeing over one side & his leggs a little crooked, more- over this deponent sayeth yt were [where] he found ye body hee thinketh yt ye water is about as deep as his middle, but hee thinketh by Mrs Ganye her words unto how yt ye body was removed about ten foote fro ‘ ye place were [where] ye boy was drowned: And further this deponent sayeth yt he could not perceive yt ye said Anthony Asson had walked or gone into ye water to save the boy.
It is the opinion of the main part of the table [court] that Anthony Asson shall pay for his offence in sending a boy nam.ed Thomas Canadye over a creeke at Keconghton uppon Mr Gainy’s land to fetch his Canoe on the other side whereby the said boy was drowned, viz: one hundred weight of tobacco to Mr Wm Gainy who had hyred ye boy for yt yeare & two hundred waight more to Mr Humphrey Rastell whose servant he was; for that it appeareth that he ye said Anthony might w’thout doubt have saved the boy by wading a little into ye water, & for yt he had not asked leave of anyone to have the said boy to fetch his Canoe.
finis Curiae
[55 is not among transcripts it is probable that the order of the court, preceding, was p. 55]

1626 Nov 6, James Cittye Court regarding an offense of Henry Gainye:
A Court at James Cittye the 6th day of November 1626, present, S’r George Yardley, Knt., Govemor &c, Doctor Pott, Capt. Smyth & Mr Claybourne
1. Whereas Henry Gainye hath formerly by an order of Court bene amerced & condemned to paye 300 li. of Tobacco for an offence commited by him in trading for come contrary to a proclamation in yt case p ‘vided it is thought fitt in regard of divers considerations & ye porre estate of ye sd Henry Gainye yt there shalbe 200 li. of ye said tobacco remitted & released unto ye said [p. 37] Henery & that he shall likewise have a discharge & release fro’ ye bond of his good behaviour for that offen se & trespass commityed.

1626 Jan 12 – Willm Gaines is listed as a tennant to Capt Tucker, in Va. James Citty.  (Note:  If this is the same William Gayne as listed above, he is now 42 years of age). 

1634 –William Gayne is listed on Colonial Records of Va. Elizabeth Cittie (he would now be age 50).

(Note:  Gayne, Gainy, Gany, or Gaines seem to be the various spellings given William and his family.  It is understandable that different spellings are given, considering spelling wasn’t considered to be nearly as rigid back in these times as we consider it today.  These names are “close enough” to at least consider whether these may have been from the Gowen family.  They sound like they are either from the “Gaines” family, or the “Ganey” family.  But with transcription errors, and spelling of the times, its possibly worth investigating further some time in the future).  

3) William Gones likely born about 1623:

1623 – William Gones is noted as transported to America in a land transaction for a Captain William Epes, of Accomacke, who received 450 acs on the Easterne Shoare of the Bay of Chesepeiacke, nere unto the plantation of Accomacke, 3 Feb 1626, p. 49. Nly. on the mouth of Kings Cr. parting this from the land belonging to the place of Secretary, Sly. towards the pursimond ponds, Ely. along the shore of the sd. Bay of Chesepeyacke &c. Due for trans. of 9 men: William Gones (or Jones), William Gallaway, John Barker, Edward Rogers, & Thomas Warden, whoe all arrived in the Anne 1623; Nicholas Raynbeare (or Raynbeard) in the Swann in 1624, Henry Carter in the James 1624 & assigned over to him by William Streate Marriner; & Richard Reeve (or Reene); & John Robbins in the Returne 1625.

(Note:  I typically assume Gones is actually “Jones”, but it could possibly be a Goin or Goines – again, spelling back then was not always what we would consider normal today.  Additionally, there have likely been several translations over time.  It may be worth investigating some time in the future to verify).

4) Jon Gowing likely born about 1610 arrived in Virginia in 1633

1633 a Jon Gowing is noted as arriving in Virginia in 1633. Name: Jon Gowing; Arrival Year: 1633; Arrival Place: Virginia. Source Publication Code: 6220; Primary Immigrant: Gowing, Jon. Annotation: Record of 20,000 very early immigrants, with much relevant information. Taken from Patent Books 1 through 5. Title page states, “In 5 volumes,” but up to 1979 only three had appeared. See nos. 6221 and 6223 for second and third volumes, published in 1977. Source Bibliography: NUGENT, NELL MARION. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1666. Vol. 1. Richmond [VA]: Dietz Printing Co., 1934. 767p. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1983. Page: 32.

1635 Sept 28 – John Gowing is noted in a land transaction for Thomas Crompe, who receives 500 acres in James Co. 28 Sept 1633 p. 287. In the neck of land bounding E. on a Cr. which runs between the Gleab land & sd. neck, W. upon a Cr. between sd. neck & land in the tenure of Thomas Phillipps, S. adj. land belonging to the Orphans and heirs of Mr. Richard Buck. 50 acs for his own per adv. & 450 acs for trans. of 9 pers: Jon. Gowing, Roger Arnwood, Robt. Ackerman, Fr. Peale, Jon. Abbott, Lewis Depoma, Peter Brill, Wm. Mallett, Tho. Trunchfield. p. 31-32. Va. Land Transaction.




(Note:  This is the first confirmed Gowen, Going, or Gowing family member arriving in the Virginia area before Thomas that I know of.  He may even be related to Thomas, considering how closely in time they arrived).  

5) Brian Gawyn (or McGawyn) age 3 years old listed as transported on the “Transport” a ship from London, arriving in Virginia in 1635.

1635 July 4 – Brian Gawyn (McGawyn) age 3yrs is listed in the “Original List of Persons of Quality”, Transported on the “Transport” of London (ship) to Virginia.

(Its uncertain whether this is an actual “Gowen” family member.  But the spelling is close enough to investigate either he, or try to locate who his family was (if he was brought over by a relative who wasn’t listed on the “Transport” for some reason, etc.  He may be worth investigating some time in the future).  

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